WAYNE – The COVID-19 United Kingdom Variant has been identified in the Northeast Nebraska Public Health District infecting an individual.
According to a release from NNPHD this afternoon, the group was notified by the Nebraska Department of Health.
The U.K. Variant has proven to be more infectious (spreads faster) and research has just identified that it also causes more severe illness than the original COVID-19 virus. The U.K. and 27 other countries in Europe are currently experiencing a surge in cases due to the B.1.1.7. variant and as more people become ill with this new variant, there will likely be more severe cases and subsequently more hospitalizations and deaths.
The NNPHD Health District consists of Cedar, Dixon, Thurston and Wayne Counties
The presence of a viral variant in the local population provides a strong reminder of the importance for everyone to use every possible intervention that is available to slow the spread of the virus. These interventions include wearing a face mask, keeping a six-foot distance, washing your hands well and often, and getting vaccinated when the vaccine is offered to you. It is also extremely important that people continue to stay home and away from others if they have any of the COVID-19 symptoms and get tested.
It is typical for viruses to mutate, it happens each year with the flu virus; however, because the virus that causes COVID-19 is still rather new, there is much we still do not know about this virus and how dangerous any mutations will be.
Julie Rother, Health Director for Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department cautions, “We have learned a lot about the COVID-19 virus over this past year but there is still more that we don’t know. For instance, a recent study showed that some people who had asymptomatic or mild COVID-19 illnesses are now experiencing ongoing health problems, known as Long COVID. The pandemic is not over, we are in a quiet period right now and it is tempting to let our guard down. However, there are many reasons, specifically new variants, that warn us that we need to continue to do what we know works to slow the spread and protect our communities and our loved ones.”
For more information on COVID-19 visit www.nnphd.org, www.dhhs.ne.gov or www.cdc.gov. To register for a COVID-19 vaccination enter vaccinate.ne.gov in your Internet browser. To contact NNPHD, email PublicHealth@nnphd.org or call 800-375-2260 or 402-375-2200.